28 May 2009

But is it art?

I've come across several articles recently about art, the purpose of art, why we have art, and the like. If you followed the links in the previous post, you'll notice I said something in the video about art being transformational. I wanted to expand on that idea a little bit with the challenge, is knitting art?

Now in this case, I'm not talking about the centerpiece flowers, the eight-foot tall scarecrow, or other items that seem to be knitted sculpture. I think the jury has already come back regarding sculpture and art and that sculpture can be made out of a great many different things. What I'm wondering about is clothing or fashion. Is what we wear or how we dress art?

And the example I'll use to make my case comes from Lars dah'link, a dear and long-time college chum who works in Manhattan. Lars dah'link has a friend who is planning her wedding. The bride is around forty, and this is her first time walking down the aisle. She is trying to keep to a budget. Lars was helping her shop for wedding dresses. Eventually, they found a wonderful dress that was very flattering but, alas, about 25%-50% more than what the bride had planned to spend. Much discussion and debate ensued for about a week, as other shops were visited and other dresses tried. The deciding comment came when the bride said the dress made her "feel beautiful." In this way, clothes can be art -- they can be emotionally transformative.

Thespians or others who enjoy costume play already know this. Sometimes what you need to get into character is that person's clothes. For a bride, wearing a dress that makes you feel beautiful makes you feel like a bride. It transforms you from whomever you are each day, into the special, desirable, fabulous blossom of female loveliness that is a bride. For a lawyer, wearing a tailored suit that makes you look smart can help you feel smart and be smart in your arguments. For someone in a more athletic or active job, wearing the special gear can make you feel brave, capable, or powerful. The exterior change in attire is not even skin deep, yet a deeper and more fundamental transformation occurs.

When we dress ourselves each day, how we dress can play a role in who we are. For one thing, it affects how others perceive us. Those perceptions affect how we are treated. How we are treated affects how we react in a situation. And sometimes we rise to those expectations, or at minimum respond to them. Very often we give the best of ourselves when people expect the best of us.

So when you dress, aim to dress for the best possible you. Showcasing your good soul is part of the Art of Fashion.

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